Close up Hands Tea x

Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

Tea in London.

Arriving at London’s Heathrow Airport I was asked, “So?  Whaddya think?”  Hmmm.  It looks an awful lot like Sacramento.  But, hey!  An airport’s an airport.  You see one flat, gray tarmac you’ve seen ‘em all.  Nothing to write home about.  Yet… here I am, doing just that.

Once OUT of the airport it was a concourse of a different color.  It was green and lush with streets dotted by trees with large pink or white blossoms everywhere we went.  We whizzed through Hyde Park and past Royal Albert Hall, zipping through London’s streets like a whirling dervish on wheels.  And I'm not exaggerating just for kicks and grins.  Best. Taxi Ride. Ever.  Though I was holding my breath most of the way, mostly hoping we'd arrive at the Cheshire Hotel alive or, at the very least, in respectably large pieces.  See, it seems as though the British laws of the road, including the whole driving on the left-hand side of the street, are more “suggestions” than laws.  Our taxi driver would often cross around medians — into oncoming traffic — to avoid, what he felt, were unnecessary delays.  It was just like being in New York, except our driver was kind, courteous and chipper instead of screaming, cursing and honking his horn.  He was the most gracious, polite maniac I’ve ever had the pleasure to be driven by.

Shortly after hitting Covent Gardens theatre district it was time to seek out my desperately wished for fish & chips and a first official cup of English Tea.  Flying for ten hours, eating tiny tins of airline rations had left me famished and a tad crankier than I had a right to be in jolly old England.  Where the battered fish, French fries and malt vinegar were decent, the pot of tea (with milk) was absolutely delightful. Spot on and the caffeine certainly helped, considering it was four o’clock in the morning, back home, according to my body’s clock.  Yay, me, as it was going to have to keep me vertical until dinner at 6pm.

Despite my best intentions, naptime commenced for 90 minutes in the middle of the surprisingly bright afternoon UK time, which was smack in the middle of the still-dark-night US time.

Well, who knew a nap was needed for the marathon eating that was to commence at Harry’s Bar on South Audley Street?  Harry’s Bar is a  private member’s club where I was fortunate enough to be the guest of one of their members.  The entire experience was a gift to all five senses, as we sat in the beautifully appointed dining room which was surrounded by hundreds of framed Peter Arno cartoons from New Yorker magazine.  From the welcoming Bellini made with fresh peach juice and champagne to the final gelatine di frutta (tiny balls of multi-colored sugar bursting with juicy delciousness when you’d bite down) and traditional colomba, Italian Easter cake…it was a treasured night to remember.  To be treated like a member of an extended family by the staff was an added treat.  What a lovely group of people.

Now, after being awake for the better part of 34 hours, I am hoping to sleep, perchance to dream, of more of the delights that London holds for tomorrow.  This, of course, depends on whether or not the tea keeps me awake.

 

All true tea lovers not only like their tea strong, but like it a little stronger with each year that passes.”  — George Orwell

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